Neither bulimia, nor binge eating disorder are diseases that occur overnight. It is not like the flu or a headache. Eating disorders creep into our lives slowly, without us noticing. It takes weeks, months, even years. Usually the causes are past traumatic events that unlock self-esteem problems. Many psychologists believe that in order to heal, it is necessary to find the hidden reason first. I don’t think this is mandatory. I believe the first step should be to stop dieting.
I know that for some people it sounds impossible, even terrifying because it awakens the fear that they will never lose weight. Even more terrifying – that they may gain even more weight. But stay with me until the end of this post and I will show you why you don’t have to be afraid.
The Effect of Dieting
The human body is extremely smart and complex. Everything in it is connected in a perfect way. In order to work, it needs energy, and it gets this energy from the food. When we start a diet and reduce our food intake, our body begins to use another source of energy to properly function. This source is the fat in our body.
So far so good, we all know this, but… when we restrict our food intake too often, our body starts to interpret this as a need to turn the „starvation mode“ on. Perhaps it is an impulse from human evolution. There used to be times when there were periods of famine and the food was limited. And in response, our body slows down our metabolism to a minimum, in order to keep us alive. Because no matter how much you don’t like your body, its most important job is to keep you alive.
Another issue is that in order to reduce body energy needs, our organism damages different tissues and processes in our body. For example, our reproductive system, because our lives do not directly depend on it. That’s why many girls with eating disorders have problems with their menstruation. But when we reduce energy intake and slow down our metabolism, we have difficulty losing weight. Especially, people who are constantly restricting their food intake, their metabolism is extremely slow. Which means that their diet doesn’t really work.
The Reason for Binge Eating
On the other hand, the feeling of hunger we experience becomes unbearably strong. Our brains can’t stop thinking about food and our only focus is on how to satisfy this hunger. That is how the desire to binge begins and we want to eat everything we see. It is not a whim and there is nothing wrong with us, just our body sends signals to the brain to save us. The impulses are so strong, that the will is not enough to stop us at such a moment.
Unfortunately, after a binge eat, our body does not use this extra energy to revive the stopped processes, but stores it. i.e. we start gaining weight. And the reason behind it is that the body wants to stock up so it can be ready and secured when the next period of famine occurs. And after time we are no longer able to lose weight with diets, contrariwise, we only gain weight.
Reconnect with Your Body
The good news is that our body is able to fully recover. It does not happen quickly, but if we are patient and take the necessary care and effort, it will reward us. The first and most important step is to stop dieting and start eating regularly.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are mandatory and between them, it is good to have 2 snacks. It is important to include all macronutrients, ie. carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fiber and also try to eat a varied diet so that we can get the necessary vitamins and minerals. The goal is to show our body that every day it will receive the necessary energy and that there will be no more periods of famine. This way we will stop binge eating episodes, we will speed up our metabolism and the body will recover. I know that it is easier said than done. The recovery period is a long and complex process, but I believe that with the patience and perseverance everyone can succeed.
In the blog you will be able to read my personal experience and the obstacles I encountered when I decided to stop dieting and how I managed to fully recover my metabolism.